So the other day Diane Corriette was kind enough to nominate this ‘lil humble blog for a Liebster award. Now, truth be told, I’m so horrendously green at this whole blogging thing that I’m not entirely sure what that is, but I’m (as they say in awards season) just happy to be nominated. Apparently it is an award that connects new bloggers to each other – which is most certainly me – new. The trouble is I don’t know a whole heck of a lot of new bloggers myself. I don’t get a chance to wander around looking for new blogs as I’m usually too busy writing them, or working on the next one or trying to finish the next novel (really, I’ve been WAY too busy with that lately). But when I do stumble into a blog I like, it’s wonderful. It really is. You never quite know what you’re going to find. Which sounds way too much like Forrest Gump. Ehn. I’m cool with that.
The big trouble is that the rules state I need to find or link 11 bloggers to the award and mention them in it, thus ‘nominating’ them. I honestly don’t know that many bloggers. Or at least I don’t think I do. I’m going to have to find more, clearly, because part of this whole blogging experience is the networking aspect to it. I love linking people to the stuff I’m interested in and giving them the opportunity to enjoy it. I mean, isn’t that really part of… well… being? Well, Diane, I may violate that portion of the rules. Sorry. But I promise I will do better to find more bloggers and link them in these pages when I do.
The other parts to the Award are 1) To post eleven facts about yourself. and B) To answer the questions the blogger has set out for you. So in other words – a quiz! If you know me personally you know I LOVE these things. I don’t know why. And I love reading them from other people. It’s like a weird, awkward, speed dating sort of icebreaker – the kind of thing you do your best to avoid in the real world. I mean, you get to share the shit that make you tick! The stuff that keeps your heart beating! I love it because when else do you get to do that except when someone asks? I mean just try doing that while waiting at the bus stop some time. Just say to the guy next to you: “I like cats.” See what they do. Either they back away or you do when they failed to realize it was just a test.
As for the eleven facts about myself… well… I probably should have done that already on an ‘about me’ page or something so here goes:
1. I love writing. Oh that’s easy – cuz, duh. But no. It’s serious. I think the feeling is mutual. Sure we have our spats at times and walk away angry, but writing and I always come back to each other, which is why Phillip Roth announcing his retirement is like an affront to the institution of writing. He’s not retiring. He’s getting a divorce. I aim to kick off with a pen in my hand, which is pretty much the same way I came in.
2. I occasionally get strong gusts of wanderlust that I’m never financially able to fulfill. Well… I shouldn’t say never. I lived in Boulder a few months and in Minneapolis for a few years. But it’s weirdly powerful. It’s a dangerous thing getting out on the road, Frodo…
3. Ooh lord. This is tougher than I thought. Had things gone as planned I might have been an Anthropologist and it still fascinates me. The intersection of culture, how we choose it and it chooses us. It’s a feedback loop that looks like a wheel rolling back through time. It didn’t go as planned.
4. I’m also fascinated by history. Like people and culture, it is far deeper and more gritty than anything you can learn from the history channel. At one point I even thought of taking another degree in history but I loathe statistics, so that was a no.
5. Iv’e studied russian, gaelic, french, and Menomenee and couldn’t form a single sentence with any of them. My personal sense about this is that English thought I was trying to cheat on her (I wasn’t) and made sure that the language facility in my brain just didn’t retain any of it.
6. Music. Ahhh….. music. I have a vast and varied digital music collection, carefully cultivated over years of study and wandering around bumping into things. Favorites: Springsteen, Bad Religion, Kimya Dawson, Bessie Smith, Paganini, Chopin, Paul Simon, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, The Animals, The Rolling Stones.
7. I can draw! No really! I’m actually pretty good at it. For a little while there I honestly thought I might make a go of it and try to do that for a living but the trouble is I suck horribly at any sense of composition.
8. In spite of the fact that I’m hip deep in the writing of a second novel in a detective/fantasy novel, I hate fantasy. I don’t really despise the genre per se, it’s just been a really long time since its interested me in any way – despite the fact that:
9. I still play D & D with friends. I guess the thing of it is it has to be fresh and fantasy is stubbornly refusing freshness (and yes I know that it has never been more popular and there are many good things going on and…) I burnt out on the stuff a long time ago.
10. Now is the best time of my life. I’m learning stuff, doing things, eliminating excuses, moving forward, finding comfort and strength in the things I don’t know and the things I’m scared of. Gee… if I’d only made that connection back when I auditioned for a play.
11. I’ve been an actor. Once. Twice actually, but the first one didn’t count. Looking back it’s one of the proudest moments in my life because I am NOT an extrovert and I have no idea what possessed me to go out for a play, except that it scared the ever-loving crap out of me and somehow, for some reason, I just had to do it. And I did. It only took an extra 20 years to learn from the experience.
Alright – see? And then the rules state I need to answer 11 questions from Diane that she posted on her blog. And they are:
1) Why do you write/blog?
I have no idea. No really. It’s true. It’s just something I’ve always done. You might as well ask ‘why do you walk?’ I honestly cannot remember a time I didn’t write. I had plastic Fisher Price typewriter when I was 3 that printed full words instead of letters. I wrote my first short story – a 36 page epic, onomatopoetic mashup of Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica (Fan Fiction!) when I was 6. In crayon.
But beyond the rather silly ‘I have no idea’ answer there is everything else: It beats television, i love my characters and the things they get into, i love the poetry of doing it right, i love it when a sentence sings, i love seeing things that aren’t there, i love stories and know that we need them to make us who we are but use them too much to make us who we think we want to be.
2) What’s the one place/country/event/festival you want to see before you die?
Well that’s a tough one because really it’s seeing Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong play in Harlem in the 20s. Seeing as that’s pretty much out of the question… I guess I’d like to see Paris, Nohant (George Sand’s home), Haworth Parsonage (Brontes – but not necessarily because of the Brontes. The moors just look really gorgeous.) and that’s it.
3. How many times have you said “I love you” in the last week?
Once. I think. I tend not to say it unless I mean it and… well…I love my peeps but I don’t always talk to them every week, so… (by peeps I mean people, not the sugar coated marshmallows. I have to make this clear because it’s Easter.)
4. How do you motivate yourself to keep going when things get tough?
I just remember all the tough times that have passed already and remember that I’m still here. Nothing’s killed me yet and until it does I guess I’m alright. Sometimes I have a good sulk and use video game therapy.
5. When was the last time you set and completed a goal?
Today. With this blog post. It’s really important, in my opinion, to make manageable goals. Small goals – if you will. You can have big dreams (or goals if you want to call them that) but they are made up of much smaller steps and much smaller goals. When ‘getting out of the bed this morning’ is a huge insurmountable goal, go the Kill Bill route: ‘wiggle your big toe.’ I can’t tell you how many times the goal has been “finish the chapter” which necessarily has to become “write a paragraph”. Life doesn’t always cooperate. You need to adapt.
6. Cats or Dogs?
7. Nurture or nature – which do you believe in the most?
I don’t believe in binaries. Usually when I see a binary my answer is ‘both’.
8. If you could talk to your teenage self now what would you say to her/him?
Good question. My initial response would be to beat him into a pulp and tell him not to be so stupid. But really (if I thought my teenaged self would actually listen – which isn’t very likely), it comes down to: Relax, listen, pay attention, breathe, or as Douglas Adams put so succinctly: Don’t Panic. Obviously, I was in a state of high panic from about 16 – 35.
9. If you could live in another country (please pick one totally different to your own) which country would it be and why?
Heeheehee… My first answer? California. In spite of being chock full of Midwesterners it is a very different country from Wisconsin. The real answer? hmmm… France? Norway? If i could create a country it would have the landscape of the Moors with a bit of Montana thrown in, the beaches of Hawaii (and the cocktails) and the weather of California. If you know where that country is in the world, let me know.
10. Do you passionately support a team? If yes, who are they? If not, why not?
No. I used to support the Green Bay Packers but then I realized it was just an excuse for exultation or misery and a surrogate, leaky cultural grail to pour too much faith and identity into .
11. What one film do you love to watch over and over and over again?
There’s actually quite a few of them. Kill Bill 1 and 2 (I’m convinced their genius hasn’t quite been recognized yet.), Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars (4, 5, 6), The Godfather.
So that pretty much does it for me I guess. I don’t have 11 blogs (or bloggers) that I know but listed below is a small collection of blogs I stop by pretty regularly to see what they’re all about and how they’re doing:
http://dianecorriette.wordpress.com – inspirational, friendly, terrific.
http://lonelyeskimofilms.com – a great crew making small, brave films of fun.
http://pacificop.wordpress.com – a terrific guy, former detective, current consultant to wayward mystery/thriller writers and the home of the Writers Homicide School.
http://crimethrillergirl.com – a great blog for crime/thriller news. Makes me panic just a little bit trying to keep up with all the news she posts.
http://eyedancers.wordpress.com – a little bit of everything here. I love it.
http://erineph.com – Can’t say enough about this blog. Love it and it always always always puts a huge smile on my face. Ranting, raving, carrying on. And damned fine writing.
http://gillianmcmurray.blogspot.com – One of my favorite people on earth. Excellent artwork, crafts, stuff, and just generally a terrific person.